The Artist in Me

This past Friday night I was a featured guest artist at an art gallery three hours from my home. While I have made and sold handcrafted jewelry for ten years and been juried in to galleries other than this one, it is the first time I had to talk to a group of patrons about my art.

There were three of us juried in to be guest artists in the month of July. One was a watercolor artist, one a glass artist, and myself – a jewelry artist. The Gallery is named ArtZ in Amery, Wisconsin and is lovely. In fact, it is the nicest place I have ever been represented as an artist!  The reception included wine, beer, and snacks.  About half way through the three-hour block of festivities, we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell a little bit about our work.

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Unlike my son, who is rockin’ it as a young artist at the young age of 16, I came to art late in life. Always being a serious, shy child and later college student, I am sure suppressed my creative tendencies. They were there for sure – drawing, macrame’, and sewing were a few of the creative pursuits I had when I was young. But, once I hit high school and college, I hit the books and little else. I remember liking art class in 7th grade and doing some perspective drawings, as well as an ink drawing of a silhouetted tree. But, even when I attended a university in the southern tier of New York that had an excellent art program, I never even took an art elective! In hind sight, I think I could have at least thrown some pots!  I would have enjoyed it.  But, I didn’t. And, that’s that.

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But sometimes, an action is born out of necessity. When I decided to be a stay at home mom and needed something – a hobby – to take me away from my three boys for a small amount of time on a regular basis, I started beading jewelry. And, I started on a table in my walk in closet!  This always brings some laughs as it did again the other night at the artist’s reception. Beading on that card table, with the door shut in the corner of my walk in closet with poor light and the absence of a window was close to a dozen years ago. I now have a wonderful in home studio with plenty of light, shelf space, and storage.

The thing I love about jewelry, is that for me it is always evolving. There is always a new technique, new skill, or new medium to work with and apply to my creations. As I told my audience the other night I think my most creative pieces are bracelets in which my own photographs are shrunk down, placed in bezel frames, and sealed with jeweler’s resin. I usually do these along a theme. The themes are usually inspired by my travel to some of the most iconic places in our country – Washington, D.C., San Diego, California, Beaches, Hawaii, and the Great Mississippi River. Other themes include mid-west flowers, and origami creations.  While these are a niche item and probably only hold attraction for those who have visited the place, they do sell well. I love them because they combine my love of photography and jewelry into one piece!

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Yes, there is an artist that resides inside me. It’s taken a while for her to reveal herself and express what is inspiring my art – nature, travel, and color – for all to see. It has been only recently that I have been able to feel comfortable in claiming this title. The reception of the audience at ArtZ Gallery last Friday night solidified that feeling!

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